ARLINGTON HEIGHTS -- A field of eight was behind the gate in the $175,000 G3 Pucker Up on a seasonable late-summer September afternoon. To the wagering and attending crowd, it was a familiar bunch of three-year-old fillies that saw the starter. Six of the eight runners exited the Hatoof Stakes on Arlington Million Day, a race that day split into two divisions.
So when the eight runners broke in the fiftieth Pucker Up on the sod going nine furlongs, the familiarity of the field carried over to the finish. It was Wayne Catalano winning another stakes race with Florent Geroux in the irons.
Catalano thought I'M ALREADY SEXY she was the speed of the speed in the Pucker Up. Pre-race instructions, as Catalano dictated post-race, was "to take it to them on the first turn." So rider Florent Geroux did that, and seized control from the bell, putting I'M ALREADY SEXY on the lead. The plan worked, with I'M ALREADY SEXY going around and leading the octet for all nine furlongs. EVERY WAY ran second in pursuit from start to finish and MY OPTION ran third all the way around, with none of the top three changing positions. REMEMBER THEN mounted a mild rally and completed the superfecta.
The margin increased steadily thoughout the race, from a length at the first quarter to an eventual 3 3/4 length victory at the finish. The clock times were solid: :23.51 (quarter), :48.39 (half), 1:12.80 (three-quarters). And the public snuffed out the plan quickly: I'M ALREADY SEXY was a strong wagering from the start, and went off at 11-10 final odds. The backers collected $4.20 win mutuels on the three-year-old daughter of Ready's Image. Final time for the nine furlongs on firm ground was 1:48.12.
Geroux, in collecting his second wire-to-wire score (first one was 2010) in the Pucker Up, "was very confident. Turning for home when I asked her, she just went on and won very easily."
Catalano, collecting another Pucker Up (winning in 2007 with Dreaming of Anna), plans to aim I'M ALREADY SEXY to the $400,000 G1 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (QEII) at Keeneland on October 12.
The $2 1-5 exacta of I'M ALREADY SEXY and EVERY WAY returned $31.00. The fifty-cent 1-5-3 trifecta of I'M ALREADY SEXY, EVERY WAY, and MY OPTION paid $25.55. Dime 1-5-3-2 superfectas with REMEMBER THEN in the fourth slot paid $21.13.
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